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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Direct from Hong Kong

Cute, trendy Asian-style cafes are not easy to find in Chicago. But since July, one new addition has helped brighten up the scene in Chinatown - Saint's Alp Teahouse.

First opened in Hong Kong in 1994, Saint's Alp Teahouse now has more than 40 locations throughout the greater Hong Kong area and mainland China. The shop here in Chicago is just the chain's second American location, following one at New York University in Manhattan.

The menu features more than 70 different tea and coffee based beverages - milk tea, bubble tea, herbal tea, cafe au lait, and more, all served hot or iced. (The almond black milk tea I ordered is one of Saint's Alp's signature iteams - delicious, though a bit sweet). There is a limited selection of food too, including set meals and snacks such as thick toast covered with condensed milk or coconut butter.

The atmosphere is warm and energetic, though some people may be turned off by the relatively young crowd it attracts (with no alcohol served, Saint's Alp is a good late night spot for teenagers). The service is attentive - not since I had been in Japan have I seen servers hustle more.

What a comfortable, laid-back place to enjoy a cup of tea. I can't wait to go again!

Saint's Alp Teahouse
2131 S. Archer Ave.
Chicago, IL

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